Kubota SVL65 Compact Track Loader

Neil from Messick's here with the new Kubota SVL65, a new entry into Kubota's SVL series. I'll walk you around this new machine here and show you some of the places that it's the same and some of the differences from its bigger brothers. Why come out with an SVL65 at all? What's the purpose of having another model in this family? Well, there's really a handful of reasons for that. When you walk around the machine here, you're going to see just some interesting choices that Kubota made when putting this together. The one real driving force that we really needed a smaller machine in this family was weight. 


When you go and you want a whole one of these things around, track loaders are heavy pieces of machinery. An SVL95, for instance, so you take that machine and you have a bucket on the front, you're talking a 12,000-pound machine that's going to take a CDL in order to pull it around and some really heavy trailers to pull it off. Even in SVL75, it's often going to require that as well. You take that machine, it basically 9,100 pounds, it has some attachments on it. You go to haul at your back up into that same range. You can't go on to a 10,000 trailer. 


An SVL65 though is light enough that it can get you there. Kubota lightened this guy up at enough areas by putting on a little bit smaller boom, lightening up some of the cab structure in order to be able to trim some pounds off of this one. It's not dramatically lighter than an SVL75. Comes in right over 8,000 pounds or so, but once you take a 10,000-pound trailer and figure a little bit of tongue weight up on your truck, you should be able to legally haul this. Now, always dive into what your local regulations are. These things can vary from state to state, but here in Pennsylvania, we are able to haul around an SVL65 on a 10,000-pound trailer behind a regular pickup truck where in the past we weren't able to legally do that with any of our other models. 


Where did that weight come from? Well, being at this is 68 horsepower versus 75 horsepower over here, there's a little bit less engine underneath the hood. You can see too that they've also lightened the boom structure up a little bit. The posts here in the boom are a little bit lighter. This boom is actually off the SSV series, so it is off the skid loader series for the boom. What they were able to do by doing that, by lightening those pieces up, you can notice the top end of the engine compartment back here has dropped several inches on the 65. The boom structure as well being that it's just a little bit more narrow is also giving you better visibility. 


When you sit in the seat of this machine, the way that the lightening was done here really has made a significant improvement to the machine's visibility. When you're sitting in the seat of one of these things, you have a much better look around you. I have a whole lot to show here but just simply to make a note, if we go and we flip open the backside of every one of these machines, if we compare the engine compartments of the 65, 75 and 95, you're going to notice a lot of the same design which is interesting because when a lot of the other manufacturers will come out with variations of machines, they usually are going in and picking in say an undercarriage from a skid loader and bolting tracks to it or picking in pieces from other machines that they already have in existence so they don't have to completely roll out a whole new product. Kubota has generally done that a little bit differently.


When they've come out with the new track loaders and new skid loaders, rather than going and cherry-picking those existing pieces and maybe compromising the design of the machine in some way, they generally start from the ground up with the chassis. Rather than being a skid loader with tracks bolted on, this is a real track machine with a track undercarriage, it's made for it. 65 is the same way. This is a different undercarriage. It's a different structure up here. Like I said, it is a skid loader boom but for the most part, all these things were created for this machine. It's not cannibalized from other pieces of equipment. 


The interesting bit to me though is when you go and you actually compare say the engine compartments, you're going to see a lot of similarities. Things like air cleaners, radiators, all that stuff very very much laying out in exactly the same way. You could see that try to intrude assembly that was done on the other machines being carried into this one and fit inside of here, even though this is a very different structure underneath the machine. How do these changes actually roll out in the differences in the machine's capacities? Well, interestingly enough, the 75 and 65 are really close to each other. 


Like I said, this isn't actually 65 horsepower, it's actually 68 coming in at 6-7 horsepower less than the bigger version. It's going to share the same hydraulic system. When you go through and you look at things like hydraulic flow and high flow hydraulics, both machines have the same amount of flow. The little bit of reduction in weight of the machine does lead to a little bit of reduction in the rated operating capacity. This is 300 to 400 pounds less capacity than what the 75 is. Cost has dropped here as well. Basically a $5000 to $6000 savings by buying the 65. When you go and you roll all those things together; a little bit less horsepower, a little bit less weight, same hydraulic system, a little bit less capacity, and a $5000 to $6000 price difference, we're really expecting this to become a very appealing machine. 


Kubota very obviously didn't want to sacrifice performance in this and they didn't. Now, granted they're pushing the limit on weight a little bit, it could have come in a little bit lighter and we would have been pretty happy with that for those just trailering guys. That's what we're after here too, but they certainly didn't sacrifice in performance and so really in the seat and in operation, we're expecting these two machines to feel very similar. Unfortunately, [chuckles] I'm not at a point yet that I can go out and test that myself and say 100% for sure. This has been probably one of the biggest new product launches we've had and it's probably going to be three to four months before we have any of these arriving into the dealership that aren't already sold, and I can't go take a new guy's brand new machine and stick it in the mud the very first time, but as we hear product updates and stuff from customers, we'll certainly pass that information along but we're expecting really good things as these things start to get out in the field. 


One of the coolest things these track loaders have been known for is the roll-up door. Simple two latches there with your fingers and it pushes right up into the ceiling and can be locked into place right there. We've had a lot of really good feedback from the door, with a traditional machine with a swinging door in the front, if your boom is down at all, you can't swing the door open in order to get out of the machine to say, work on an attachment or even just to exit the cab. Twice so far too, we've had situations where customers are maybe even thanking that feature for saving their lives. 


We had one guy put one into a pond. Again, he needed to exit the machine while the boom is up. We had another one in a combustible environment where the guy had some chicken litter in the back of the machine catching on fire and the machine burnt and fortunately, he was able to flip-door while his boom was still up and jump out. This is a convenience feature but it's also a significant safety feature as well and guys have really come to like that. You're going to notice the cab structure in here, the controls, the switches, the safety handles, the control sticks are right out of the rest of this family. There's no real differences here. The seat though, however, has been cheapened up a little bit. This is not the same quality seat that is in the bigger machines. 


Kubota has not made huge changes to the SVL series. When it came to market, it was obvious that the company did their homework. As variations of these machines have come out over the years, there have not been huge mechanical changes. One place that has changed though is been in the control sticks. The sticks themselves here now have a lot more buttons on them. They're a lot more feature-rich. Multi-pin connectors are now standard equipment on high-flow models. In the past, things weren't always that way. Sometimes we were zip-tying on little buttons and stuff one of the sides of the control stick. That was a little janky. This is a lot better and a lot nicer design now that we have today. 

These same sticks are being used over in the SSV series as well. They're coming into this new model and the other SVL series machines have been updated with these as well but they're here from the get-go. You'll notice one thing that we really like about Kubota machines generally is the fact that they're hydraulic over hydraulic controls. These are not electronic fly-by-wire sticks, and so they do behave and react a little bit differently than some other machines do. It tends to be a feeling that our operators really, really like a lot. 

Nice to see that preserved. That's something we really don't ever want to see go away. 


One of the best features of this machine is those hydraulic sticks and that roll-up door. I'm going to take a minute here and try to show you some of the visibility differences in this machine versus the 75. It's a tough thing to put on video, but you'd have to take my word for it to a point here. When you sit in the cab and you look around this thing, the visibility out of this is dramatically better than a lot of the other machines are. Like I said, one of the big areas that comes into play is how the engine doesn't sit up nearly as high in the 65 here as it does in the 75 and 95. 


The engine compartment actually slopes down the back. It doesn't sit up nearly as high. In fact, it's still probably a good 2 inches below this back window. That really gives me much better rearward visibility. The tube in the back I believe that structure is also a little lighter too to so you don't have that obstruction. Then when we come out the sides over here, our side visibility is also a lot better as well. Being at the boom structure isn't quite as large. I can see above and below it a lot easier than what I can on some other machines. We'll jump over here to the 75 once and just show you exactly what I'm talking about. 


Now I've moved over here to the 75 and I'll try to give you some of the same shots. Again, when you look at the back of the machine, it's still not bad visibility by any stretch but definitely a lot more structure in the back of the boom and in the engine compartment itself and coming out the side of the booms over here, you can see a more substantial boom structure. Yes, there is definitely more meat in this machine but that meat then, again it impedes your view when you're trying to see out of it when you're operating. That's a little bit on the SVL 65. If we're perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed at first when I saw this thing roll out hoping for a little bit lighter weight but once we got down and we actually started putting numbers to paper and seeing that we should be okay on most trailers for most configurations. Looking at what they did for the specification of this machine, this is a really strong machine in its class and it's going to perform really well for a lot of guys. 


If you're in the market for a piece of construction equipment, you can use a track loader or if you have other parts of service needs for machines that you've already got, give us a call at Messick's, we're available at 800-222-3373 or online at messicks.com